Editorial: CWRU’s alumni association is lacking

Editorial Board

Though we sometimes forget, there are thousands upon thousands of people who graduated from Case Western Reserve University out there. While we prepare for job and graduate school applications, most of us don’t consider what our actual lives will be like after we graduate. When we enter the real world, we’ll have to fend for ourselves, unless people help us along the way. However, when we leave we will also be alumni of this university. That’s precisely why universities across the country, including CWRU, have alumni associations. They keep us connected to our own college community post-graduation. However, CWRU’s alumni association isn’t the most robust or beneficial for CWRU graduates, especially compared to other networks across the nation. 

Let’s be honest, if you run into a CWRU alum it’s likely they won’t be overly excited that you attend CWRU. Don’t get us wrong, there are plenty of alumni who do carry CWRU school spirit after they graduate, especially those who donate to the university later on. However, it’s not typical to have alumni who go above and beyond for other students and alumni alike. Many universities have extremely supportive associations and networks—such as Amherst, Princeton, Duke and many others—that provide resources and perks for their graduates. CWRU is not among these universities. On the surface, CWRU does provide some perks for alumni, including chapters across the globe, career services, mentoring opportunities and more. 

However, there is much more to be done. There should be more advantages to being an alum—whether that be welcome kits for alumni moving to new areas, set-up travel trips or extensive career coaching. Another important aspect of building a more tight-knit alumni network is building school engagement and spirit on campus. We should be proud CWRU students, yet, we don’t see much school spirit here. No one proclaims themself to be a “proud Spartan.” Yes, we have good academics in STEM fields, but our student body is pretty disconnected from each other. If there was a better effort on the university’s part to make collective socializing more exciting, whether it be through more campus traditions, a greater number of on-campus events or a larger emphasis on sports, then perhaps more students would engage with their university beyond academics. Even without added perks, we would be more enthusiastic about meeting other CWRU alumni, and more of us would actively be involved with alumni associations and the CWRU community.

Despite there being clear room for improvement within the network, the alumni association does try to help out current students—there are many ways to give back to the university, including through funds. However, while there is a general fund you can donate to, or you can choose to donate to a specific cause, there is also the Case Alumni Association. The Case Alumni Association is a specific organization dedicated to CWRU’s engineering, math and applied sciences. They organize and host multiple events and scholarships, and provide various opportunities. In addition, clubs can apply for funds through this specific organization if they are STEM related. But there is no humanities equivalent. While there are some funds available for humanities students for specific individual projects or internships, including through the Baker-Nord Center for the Humanities, it is nothing to the extent of the Case Alumni Association’s resources. Sure, alumni donors can give money towards a specific club if they choose to do so, but it’s up to them, whereas this association actively helps STEM students above and beyond. Yes, the distribution of STEM students is more than half of our undergraduates, but that doesn’t mean the other students and departments should be forgotten.

While our alumni association is pretty standard, it isn’t something that CWRU and its alumni association should be boasting about. There is clear room for advancement, both in and outside of the university. There should be equal resources and opportunities for all students, not just those going into STEM fields. We should be proud to be CWRU students and alumni, but at the moment, most of us are not.